Mechanical behavior of bio-inspired composites made of co-continuous geopolymer and 3D-printed polymer

Siyuan Pang, Mahmoud A. Mahrous, Ana Carolina Constancio Trindade, Andrij Kozych, Nupur Kale, Waltraud M Kriven, Iwona Jasiuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Geopolymers (GPs) are emerging, low-density ceramic materials that are simple to manufacture, with high elastic modulus and strength, albeit with low toughness. Fiber reinforcements have been used to achieve varied ductile behaviors, but little is known about the GP addition to polymeric frame structures. Thus, drawing inspiration from the nanostructure of bones, this paper investigated an interpenetrating, co-continuous composite consisting of a GP as the stiff but brittle phase, and a 3D-printed polymer (PA12 White) as the soft and deformable phase. The composite mechanical properties and failure modes were studied experimentally using uniaxial compression and four-point bending tests. The co-continuous network constrained brittle cracking within the GP and reduced strain localization in the polymer. The results showed that the composite had higher strength (56.11 ± 2.12 MPa) and elastic modulus (6.08 ± 1.37 GPa) than the 3D-printed polymer and had higher toughness (5.98 ± 0.24 MJ/mm 3) than the GP for the specific geometries examined. The shape effect study demonstrated that cubic structures had higher elastic modulus and strength but at the expense of lower toughness when compared to rectangular prism structures. The study of scale effects indicated that increasing the number of periodic unit cells while maintaining consistent bulk dimensions led to augmented strength and toughness, albeit without statistically significant alterations in elastic modulus. Thus, this paper presents an experimental realization of a novel, bio-inspired, interpenetrating, GP–polymer composite design, offering improved strength and toughness. It also provides valuable insights into the shape and size effects on the mechanical properties of this new composite.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere202300097
JournalApplied Research
StateE-pub ahead of print - Feb 27 2024


  • 3D-printing
  • bio-inspired composite
  • compression
  • four-point bending
  • geopolymer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Mechanical behavior of bio-inspired composites made of co-continuous geopolymer and 3D-printed polymer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this